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Archives for 07/22/2007 - 07/28/2007

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mosh!

posted by on July 28 at 10:27 PM

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Taken from the rooftop on the corner of 10th and Pike. That’s Against Me! about to incite a riot down below. There’s video, too, but I’m not gonna take the time to YouTube it right now. Monday for sure.

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The cops were actually very gracious in telling us to get off the roof. One officer told me that there have been no injuries or disturbances at all during CHBP.

We rage, but we’re well behaved.

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Case in point. Though I got mooned by the shirtless guy right after I took this shot. So we’re well behaved, until we’re not.

This Is Bat Country

posted by on July 28 at 10:25 PM

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It’s Not the Same Thing as Being Shit On, but It Was Still Icky

posted by on July 28 at 7:28 PM

On the bus ride on the way to the Block party a small group of people were talking about something. I’m not sure what. It’s not important. What is important is that whatever they were talking about resulted in one of the guys saying:

“In all the time I carried around that moist towelette, never did someone shit on me.”

I laughed. Apparently he needed a moist towelette and apparently he no longer carried one on him. Apparently he use to, and apparently, because he never got shit on, he stopped carrying it.

I mean, apparently.

I thought nothing of it. Then I met this guy.

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His name is Peter, and that trophy he’s holding is what he won after taking first place in a doughnut eating contest at the Vera stage before Elphaba’s set. Angela Garbes would be proud.

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Peter was a nice enough fella. I introduced myself, congratulated him, and asked to take his picture. He kindly obliged and shook my hand. He shook my hand after he used the very same hand to shove something like a half-dozen frosting-covered doughnuts in his mouth.

So now my hand’s all wet and sticky and man… I really need a moist towelette.

Best Text Message of the Day (So Far)

posted by on July 28 at 6:25 PM

From Ari, sent at 2:51 pm: A bong and a burger are moshing to Sunday Night Blackout.

I didn’t make it in time to see the fight, but I did catch SNB’s killer cock-rock set along with the aftermath of the Fight of the Century.

Burger:

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Bong:

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The bong took a big hit and lost the battle. The Big Mac is the Burger King.

(Thanks to my friend Dan for supplying this post’s witty commentary).

The Whore Moans Tell You How to Dress

posted by on July 28 at 5:38 PM

This year’s hit fashion? “Vacation Dad.”

Ryan from the Whore Moans explains…

They were fantastic, by the way. It was the first time I had ever seen them live. I was so glad I finally did. Tons of sweat and energy, the crowd clapped and danced a long, and they played familiar material from their new record Watch Out for This Thing along with a few new jams.

They also declared their song “Dissappear” as the anthem for Summer 2K7 and I have to whole-heartedly second that motion. The tune is very Crimpshrine-sounding with starry guitars and heavy fluid bass. It is a great summer tune.

PWRFL POWER Playing “Chopsticks”

posted by on July 28 at 5:19 PM

So far, this is the best song I’ve heard today that has a line about wanting to hit a girl not wanting to hit a girl because she’s too pretty.

Chopsticks

posted by on July 28 at 4:41 PM

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Kaz “PWRFL Power” Nomura kicked off CHBP Day two in his singular, inimitable style. The guy’s so damn lovable, and funny, and such a badass guitar player, that it’s impossible not to fall for his shtick. Highlights were “Cat Song,” “Tomato Song,” “Banana Song,” and my favorite, “Let Me Teach You How to Hold Chopsticks.” This one went

Let me teach you how to hold chopsticks
You’re so pretty
And you’re holding them wrong

The highlight was the finale—a song Nomura said he penned specifically for Block Party, sung from the perspective of a homeless person. He instructed the crowd on a little singalong bit, and then dove in with “Let’s do something bad today, like steal a glass from the new Cha Cha.” For the chorus, he spelled out “F. U. N. K.” and the crowd pumped fists and yelled “FUNK!” several times. Yes, a crowd of Cap Hill kids chanting for funk in the middle of an intersection—this truly is a miraculous festival.

After his set a fan came up to Nomura with a pair of black enamel chopsticks. “Will you teach me how to hold them right?” he asked. Nomura took the chopsticks and showed him. Both walked away happy.

The Cribs are pop-punking on the mainstage right now, but im heading out to check out our man Kurt Reighely spinning records at Havana. Music!

Ice Cube is Down with the P.E.

posted by on July 28 at 4:36 PM

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Time to Go to The Block Party

posted by on July 28 at 3:29 PM

So many people, so much fun… GET THERE! Go now!

Surviving the Block Party

posted by on July 28 at 3:25 PM

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I’ve scrapped two versions of this post already, since there’s more than enough being written about the great performances thus far here at the CHBP. My highlights include Matt and Kim (the happiest band on the planet), Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head (more bands should throw Otter Pops into the audience), Silversun Pickups (it took a while for the vocals to get dialed in, at which point the set became great), and of course Girl Talk (those people were right to near-riot to get in, it was great, with lots of new material - Gillis is a contemporary pop music scholar). It’s early in the day but it’s looking like today’s going to be busier than yesterday, so here are some tips for those of you on your way down:

- The sun is out. Wear sunscreen. I’ve got melanin, so sunburn isn’t a risk I worry about much, but I know many of you aren’t as lucky in that regard.

- Bring earplugs. The sound is dialed in on every stage. Every band I’ve heard has sounded great (or rather, deficiencies couldn’t be blamed on the sound system). Even the Blood Brothers’ sound check was deafening.

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- Bring a bag with your own “water.” I’m not advocating that you bring in your own booze, but I haven’t seen much in the way of bag searching. Do with that information what you will.

- Get your 21+ wristband early. The lines to get into Neumos grew longer as the day progressed, but for most of the day if you already had a wristband you could skip right past the line.

- Get to Neumos early. I don’t think tonight will be as crazy for getting into the late-night performances (Pretty Titty, the Spankrock DJs), but you still might want to head down to catch The Girls’ set to ensure your entry. They’re a great band so you should do that anyway.

- Be nice to security. I had a constant flow of texts going with a friend stuck in the Girl Talk line. Sounds like things got a bit heated, but as someone on the inside, the venue was really damn full. It’s too bad they didn’t let people in as people left, but that was only a trickle and when you’ve got crowdsurfing ON STAGE, it’s probably wiser to do what you can to keep things under control.

- Have fun. This is shaping up to be one of the best weekend’s of the year (CHBP AND Daft Punk, with an early kickoff from DFA/Beats in Space’s Tim Sweeney - hell yes!), so time to get out and rock out.

All photos by Dagmar Sieglinde Patterson

Day One

posted by on July 28 at 2:33 PM

(all photos courtesy of Kelly O)

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The Saturday Knights kicked things off in style as usual. Jonathan’s got them pretty much covered here.

I think Ron Sims (was that Ron Sims?) just introduced these guys as “Natalie Portman’s Skinned Head.” I’ve been saying this for a minute now, but Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head are going to be great once they get another year of being a band under their collective white belt, and I still think that.

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Matt & Kim were easily the highlight of my day (yeah, I didn’t get in to see Girl Talk either). I think I mentioned their incessant grinning in my preview of them, but it’s worth mentioning again. For at least one person I talked to after their set, it was Kim’s manic smile behind the drum kit that made the biggest impression. For me, it’s the moment in “Silver Tiles” where the drums drop out and Matt sings, “And all our hopes/and all our friends” over a couple sustained notes. It’s a climactic, finger-pointing, sing-along moment. Also, Matt & Kim superfan with the Team Gina hat, you are awesome.

For more Matt & Kim positivity, check out their review of the crowd.

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A friend and I watched the Blood Brothers from a patch of shade back by the sound booth, marveling that we’d been watching this band for the last ten years. It’s pretty awesome that such an odd, chaotic band has lasted so long (even if there’s rumors that they won’t last much longer). It’s also pretty disorienting, because the Blood Brothers are basically a completely different band than the one I remember from my late teens and underage twenties. And while I’m familiar with their new material and even fond of some of it, it’s still weird. The band never play their older material—the pubescent ragers of This Adultery is Ripe and Rumours Laid Waste, the post punk psych operas of March on Electric Children—and for whatever reason, that stuff will always be what I think of first when I think of the Blood Brothers. But their crowd was nuts—kids thrashing and flailing around, crowd surfing (ugh)—and it’s great that the Blood Brothers continue to make music that resonates with literally a new generation of kids. They still play with roughly the same energy and fey/foxy charisma as always, even if they seem a little less prone to diving into audiences these days. And they sounded great yesterday—theirs was the first set to really impress me with the sound quality of the Block Party—the guitars pierced the open summer air rather than just floating away in it, the bass and drums were booming, the keyboards were clear, and the vocals were sharp and evenly mixed (minus one bad mic moment for Jordan Blillie).

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I only caught a couple songs of Blue Scholars, because I had my own night to take care of, but I did catch their flip of Green Day’s “Brain Stew” for their first song. It was kind of an odd move—not because hip hop never samples a rock song, duh—but because Seattle hip hop (especially Blue Scholars) seems to have such momentum right now that it just seems unnecessary, even at what is in large part a rock festival, to do that kind of cross genre outreach. Regardless, Sabzi, played with the sample and brought in a thick beat underneath it, and Geologic launched into an authoritative performance. that kept a packed intersection hanging on his every syllable.

I slipped out of my other engagement around 11:30 to try to get into Girl Talk, only to find a mob of people lined—well, mobbed—up at the door to Neumo’s. After a couple minutes, it seemed clear that I was not getting in there, so I took off. I was a little bummed, because I’d been counting on Girl Talk to be the highlight of the whole Block Party, and I’m sure it was rad, but I’m not sure I could have possibly had any more fun than I did at Girl Talk’s last Seattle show. Maybe next time.

Political Party

posted by on July 28 at 12:18 PM

Don’t have too much more to contribute to BP Day One chat that hasn’t yet been brought up, other than Zwickel’s Fear & Loathing get-up, though I’m surprised the intro to the Blue Scholars’ set has gone unmentioned.

Like most of the sets, local councilperson Dow Constantine took the stage for introduction duties. This man came out with jugs of candy, however, and began throwing gum-sized treats at the crowd. Thankfully, he didn’t follow up this patronizing bullshit by jumping into the crowd, grabbing everyone’s cheeks and squealing, “Who’s a cute li’l voter? Yes you are! Yes you are.”

Call that an overreaction, but Scholars’ DJ Sabzi appeared to take offense on some level as well when he and Geologic were introduced as this councilman’s “constituents.” “We do not ally ourselves with any political party in particular, just to get that out of the way,” Sabzi began, before flicking on his tables and beats and getting the tremendously moving show started. Not sure if the underage, Roca Wear-covered, beer drinking twinkies to my left appreciated the revolutionary slant of “50,000 Deep” and the like, but still, I was impressed to see so many people wave their hands in the air—even when unprovoked. Shout-out to the fogeys on the nearby rooftop who tried, hard as they might, to raise that very roof.

Trivia Questions

posted by on July 28 at 11:10 AM

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The Crayolas are in preparation for their appearance as we speak. Fluffing and lifting free weights and listening to Falco.

Crayola handler, Stanley Cramdorf, has his Block Party Trivia Questions ready. Answer correctly and get candy and Crayola love:

1. What is the correct pronunciation of PWRFL POWER?
2. Where is PWRFL POWER from?
3. What Stranger columnist is in Cancer Rising?
4. What is Jonathan Zwickel’s DJ name?
5. Where is Girl Talk from?
6. Where is Against Me! from?
7. Where does Spencer from the Saturday Knights work?
8. What band is named after a vessel that floats in water?
9. What Seattle expatriate DJ moved to LA and started a label?
10. Which Bible book did the Intelligence name their album after?
11. Which Block Party band recently signed to Loveless Records?
12. Which Block Party band is a married two-piece?
13. What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
14. Do you like Ace of Bass?
15. What is the fastest land animal?

GIRL TALK!

posted by on July 28 at 11:07 AM

Last night’s Girl Talk show was possibly the best dance party I have ever been to. Neumos was the most packed I’ve seen it, way past normal show capacity, crammed with drunk people ready to dance. This of course meant the drink lines were ridiculously long, bringing into question a life-long paradox: the mystery beer.

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As I stood in the back of the club enjoying the Trucks I finished my drink and woefully looked at the empty glass. It took me 15 minutes to get that drink and only three minutes to drink it. I didn’t want to wait in line for another, but I also wanted to have a good buzz on for the impending dance explosion. Behind me on a table sat three abandoned beers, untouched for the entirety of the Trucks set. They were hardly if at all drank, still had head that was clear of foreign particles, and very, very tempting. Keep in mind, I’m the sort of guy that will put something gross in my mouth on a dare, and when a stranger hands me a barely sipped drink in a bar and says, “I’m leaving, you want this?” I drink it unhesitatingly. But these beers - there was something not quite right about these beers. The fact that there were three…I just knew one of them was tainted. This was a trick! Someone on the balcony was watching, waiting to see if I would drink the laced cup. Behind one of those three doors was a tiger waiting to eat me. No, what was I thinking? There’s nothing wrong with those beers. Someone bought them and then decided to leave and abandoned them on the table, expecting some tasteless idiot like myself to drink them. But how could I be sure? I couldn’t. I stood in line for another twenty minutes and paid for another drink.

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Girl Talk immediately had everyone in Neumos dancing their ass off. Within seconds people swarmed the stage and freaked out next to Gillis as he took favorite samples from Night Ripper and mixed them into new creations. “Since You Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson, “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” by Daft Punk, and Mims “This is Why I’m Hot” (which I never thought I could enjoy) mixed into “Time After Time” were all crowd favorites. Around 1:20am the security guards inexplicably started kicking everyone off the stage, including a hilarious moment when they tried to kick off Gillis himself. The party kept going on the floor, with Gillis jumping over his laptop station into the crowd, only to return to the stage with no pants. The energy in the room was amazing, never letting down for the entirety of his set. Greg Gillis really knows how to get a party started. Definitely the highlight of day one.

nice photo by Micah Barrett

Block Party Bands of the Day: The Pop Machine vs. the Cribs

posted by on July 28 at 10:35 AM

By the time you read this, you better already be on your way to the Block Party, or else your totally gonna be missing shit!

However, our final Block Party Bands of the Day are Cribs and the Pop Machine! You have to make the decison NOW about which one you are gonna be seeing!

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The Pop Machine Number of Myspace Friends: 1,323

One time I saw this band practicing. I was wandering around in Ballard (don’t ask me why, I have no idea why I went there either), and of course, when in Ballard, you better get into Bop Street Records. That place is awesome. It’s like the record stores I used to go into in Boston—it’s dirty, they have a whole Nina Hagen section, the counter clerk might be secretly getting drunk. I love it. It’s the best thing about Ballard.

Anywhoo, I was wandering through Bop Street when I heard a band playing in the basement. The basement is a cavern full of duplicates of what they have upstairs that they use to restock and to sell wholesale, and down there, in all the huge stacks, I found the Pop Machine. I watched them sing some songs and they were a sweaty, poppy mess. That was about three quarters of a year ago, I think, and they sure have cleaned up their act. Now, they are a sweaty, poppy, ball of fun. Go listen to their songs on Myspace. It’s fun as hell.

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The Cribs Number of Myspace friends: 47,14—Also, doesn’t the guy on the right look a little like Ben Lashes?

I’ve never seen the Cribs perform in a basement, or anywhere at all. I think I even looked over the fact that they were on the schedule for Block Party in the same way you look over a word that you don’t know when you are reading a book, and then later you don’t even remember reading the word at all.

I feel less than qualified judging the Cribs. They would be less than qualified to judge me as well. I know that they released a record of poppy rock music that some guy from Franz Ferdinand produced (does that mean anything these days? Did they pay him as much as he got to do that cookbook?). I also know that they have a nice Myspace, with many many comments. I feel like those people are more qualified than me, a.k.a, they’ve heard of the Cribs, so let’s look at a selection:

“frm now on ur so much better than kasabian, and im not saying that coz im pissed off, anyway, i agree, music is rubbish right now!my bro said that u talking bout u self, he thinks u are crap and shud fuckoff this earth, he a right knobhead.!!!womans needs is best live song,i filmed it…”

I agree! Right Knobhead! Brilliant.

“great show at the trobadour it was amazing yea mon cum bak soon please ,,,n thnx fo the encore nn yea it was pretty hot in dat venue”

Yea Mon! Go see the Cribs!

(The Cribs play today at 4:15 pm on the Main Stage. The Pop Machine plays at 3 pm on the Vera Stage. I don’t know why these got set up as versus, you could totally catch both if you want to. And if you hurry!)


Friday, July 27, 2007

KLUCIFER!

posted by on July 27 at 9:48 PM

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Half-satanic.

Rumours Laid Waste?

posted by on July 27 at 8:28 PM

Word on Pike street is that the Blood Brothers might not be a band much longer, because Johnny Whitney wants to start an alt-country band. Is that true? If it is, it would be a real shame, because they sounded fucking fantastic tonight.

Matt & Kim Review Their Crowd

posted by on July 27 at 7:49 PM

Talking in the VIP tent after their early set…

Kim: “They were so amazing.”

Matt: “Seattle is so good to us. We went through so much shit. We lost our plane tickets home, we realized we didn’t have any speakers or amps, we broke the leg on one of the drums. But the thing is we started playing and everyone was so fucking positive. Although I got stoned and had some Pabst.”

Kim: “The crowd totally makes the show. When the beach ball came out I was psyched.

They lost their plane tickets home? Huh? They explained: They were at another festival and they got vouchers to fly home on, but on the flight to Seattle they somehow lost those vouchers. They’re hoping that the vouchers are found and used by some people who really need them—a couple whose marriage is on the rocks, a family with a sick relative… But as of this moment, they still don’t know how they’re getting home.

They had some barbecue in the VIP tent and then, as the Blood Brothers started playing, went over to the VIP fence to watch.

IT HAS BEGUN

posted by on July 27 at 7:04 PM

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(Special thanks to the sun for the photo)

The Saturday Knights kicked off Capitol Hill Block Party (from here on out abbreviated to CHBP) ) (or BP if we’re especially lazy) exactly three hours ago. Just like at Sasquatch, the fellas took to their lead spot gracefully. There’s a reason why they go first: They are party starters. You can’t fight the feeling.

Granted, it was their usual set—we’re dying for new songs ova hea, doods. BUT beach balls and city streets made the right setting for their quasi-Beasties rap-rock shenanigans. AND for the final two songs of the set, Neumo’s honcho Jason Lajuenesse got behind a meager drum kit and pounded out some tight, punchy backbeats, going beat for beat with Spencer’s turntable-driven backdrop. Tilson must be sweating his ass off in a camel-colored wool suit and flaming orange wool hat, but hey, the duds match the shoes perfectly. “Meter’s running, girlfriend’s waiting, bank ain’t open yet”—we’ve all been there before, but it’s never felt funkier.

At the finale, Spencer spazzed out; he picked up a mic stand and smashed it through Lajuenesse’s bass drum. He flailed out and kicked over the high hat. Lajuenesse kept playing his snare and cockeyed ride cymbal, as long as he could til Spencer took down the rest of the kit with kicks and swings from the mic stand. Violence! It was an unexpected ending to an otherwise welcome but by-the-numbers set.

If TSK’s blitzkrieg finale set the tone for the rest of this fest, we’re all in great shape. It’s only three hours into it but I’m seriously feeling the Block Party vibe.

(For real: Right now the Blood Brother’s rape-porn noise rock is bleeding through the Stranger’s office windows. Fuckin’ unsettling. JZ out.)

Talbot Tagora Can’t Catch a Ride

posted by on July 27 at 5:09 PM

Talbot Tagora missed their set on the Vera Stage, because their ride never showed up. IT seems unlikely that they’ll be able to reschedule a set, but we’ll see. Either way, maybe they should invest in one of these:

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The Party You’re Missing

posted by on July 27 at 4:55 PM

It’s not quite 5, and I assume a lot of you suckers still have to wait until The Man let’s you off work before you can start rocking the CHBP. People are slowly filing in… so should you be one of those cube rats still stuck in the office, here’s a little taste of what you’re missing:

Puppies!
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The Saturday Knights playing beach ball with the crowd!
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And a dude wearing an overcoat made out of duct tape!
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Get here! We’ve only just begun…

But allow some time because, as you probably guessed, there are some lines too…

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Circus Paradise

posted by on July 27 at 4:54 PM

If you missed last night’s first edition of Circus, which was a great night of amazing classic disco, italo, rare edits, etc., well it’s safe to say you definitely missed out. However, you’ll have another opportunity next month when Terry, Kurt, and I host the second edition of Circus at Pony. Info on that coming soon.

Also if you couldn’t make it to Circus, you will have an opportunity next Friday, August 3rd, to check out another new disco night, Club Cabana at The Solo Bar in Queen Anne (It will be worth getting off “The Hill” for a night)which will basically be a tropical version of Circus! Classic disco, italo, salsoul classics, re-edits, everything you basically find on the American Athlete blog.

Here is one of the many tracks, the classic Dimitri from Paris re-edit of The O’ Jays’ 1975 disco gem “I Love Music”, that I played last night to give you a feel of what you missed.

The O’ Jays - I Love Music (Dimitri from Paris Touch Up Re-edit)

Hope to see you out next week!

Strangers DJ the Mainstage

posted by on July 27 at 2:14 PM

You’ll be at the Block Party to get drunk and watch some rock and roll, but on top of all that, did you you’ll also be able to stalk your favorite Stranger staffer and/or request that they play “Irreplaceable” by Beyonce?

That’s right! All weekend, that music you hear blasting from the mainstage speakers while the crew sets up for the next band will be be coming straight from the record/CD/mp3 collection of some of The Stranger’s very own.

Here’s the schedule:

Friday:
3 to 4 pm - DJ FITS (Eric Grandy)
4:45 to 5:15 pm - DJ Dusk (Charles Mudede)
6:15 to 6:45 pm - Nips (Mike Nipper)

Saturday:
1 to 2pm - Zwikipedia (Jonathan Zwickel)
2:30 to 3pm - Jiggle Low (Dan Paulus)
3:45 to 4:15 - Klam-bone (Audrey Klammer)
5 to 5:30 - DJ FITS (Eric Grandy)

This Week’s Setlist

posted by on July 27 at 1:55 PM

It’s the Capitol Hill Block Party episode!

Click here to hear bands playing the Block Party including Speaker Speaker, PWRFL POWER, Boat, and Sunday Night Blackout.

Killer, brah.

Click to listen.

Ludicra to Rock the Funhouse Tomorrow Night

posted by on July 27 at 1:52 PM

I didn’t peruse last week’s Up & Coming pitch list very carefully, or else I would’ve noticed that Ludicra, a superb SF black metal band, are playing tomorrow night. Who cares if it’s Block Party that night. I mean, are there any black metal bands playing Block Party? No, so there is really no competition here. Go to the Funhouse Saturday night and catch Ludicra (9:30 pm, $10, with Wolves in the Throne Room, Wormwood, and The Better to See You With). It will indeed be worth it. We’re talking two female vocalists, intricate guitar work, superfast beats. This band is fucking excellent! I’ve seen them several times in the Bay Area, and they have never disappointed live. Check out their MySpace page for MP3s (I recommend “In the Greenest Maze”).

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Here is a spider called the ludicra jumping spider:

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P.S. While I was checking out Life Is Abuse’s website (where I learned about this show), I saw that they recently updated their news section, which for the past year or two has had some little blurb about how the final Dystopia LP, recorded two years ago, still isn’t done. Unfortunately, it still says basically the same thing: “The final Dystopia LP/CD is still not out. Mastering is done, artwork is not. Total Suck.” Total suck, indeed.

Daft Punk’s Electroma

posted by on July 27 at 12:26 PM

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First of all, forget Daft Punk’s ecstatic anthems. Forget “One More Time.” Forget “Around the World.” Hell, forget even the occasional great moment on “Human After All.” Daft Punk’s Electroma—the “odyssey of two robots who journey across a mythic American landscape of haunting, surreal beauty on a quest to become human”—is a huge downer, like Brokeback Mountain for robots.

The film doesn’t feature any Daft Punk songs, but rather a score of analog synth drones and oscillations punctuated by the classic rock, r&b, and soft pop of Todd Rundgren, Sebastian Tellier, Brian Eno, and Curtis Mayfield. The cinematography is patient and pretty—lots of slow pans of the American Southwest, shots of the two protagonist robots walking, and the stunning central scene of the robots being “transformed” in a digitally whited-out laboratory populated by matching white figures that merge and emerge with the background in what might be the film’s most striking visual effect—but the pacing is so slow. In just over an hour, roughly three things happen.

The movie begins with some still shots of canyon walls, the rock formations looking almost like human faces. Suddenly, there’s a vintage, black Ferrari parked in the middle of the desert—it’s license plates say “HUMAN” (it’s unclear whether or not this rare cab has dice on the mirror). Two familiar robots—one with a silver helmet, one with a gold helmet, both wearing leather jackets embroidered with “Daft Punk” on the backs—walk up, get into the car, and drive off. They drive for a while. They listen to the radio. They pass a slow-moving tractor being driven by a familiar looking robot. They pull into a small town, and we see that everyone—children, businessmen, a wedding party—sports the same gold or silver helmets. They pull up to a dated, post-war building. Inside is the blinding white, hi-tech lab.

The lab operators pour some brown goo—something in between a latex paint and a chocolate frosting, over the robots’ helmets. They shape it and add molded facial features and wigs to make the robots human. Transformed, the robots strut through town with their new, comical caricatures of human faces. The townsfolk—townsbots?—stare with awed hostility, until their faces start to melt in the hot sun. Our heroes are chased out of town by a mob. They duck into a bathroom and peel off their failed human faces, the gold helmeted bot more readily than his seemingly weaker counterpart. They follow some train tracks and wind up alone in the desert. They walk and walk and walk. Finally, they give up, and the ending, though hinted at by intercut shots throughout the film, still comes as a sad shock.

Making the experience only more depressing was the fact that I still don’t know if I’m going to get into Daft Punk’s show on Sunday. It’s super sold out, and I held off on buying tickets, thinking I’d get in to review the show for Line Out. As of today, there’s still no word on whether or not that’s gonna happen. Bummer. Nevermind. It’s so on!

What to Expect From Ryan Adams Tonight

posted by on July 27 at 11:50 AM

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Ryan Adams plays the Moore tonight; last night he was at Portland’s Aladdin Theater. Corey DuBrowa—who in this week’s paper took a deep look into the alt-country roustabout’s meandering career track and wondered which side of Adams would show up to play—was there.

He reports:

So here’s your answer, having seen last night’s show: 50% “Rescue Me Ryan,” 50% “Urban Deadhead.”

The between song banter was funny as hell (and the bass player had to get stitches in his head b/c of an “accident,” so there was lots of hilarity to be had there) but the Grateful Dead pastiche bored the hell out of me by the second hour.

The same ol’ Ryan: talent to burn but using it in service of Beavis/Butthead material.

Now you know.

Best Song Ever (This Week): “Snake Mistakes” by Dan Deacon

posted by on July 27 at 11:48 AM

Oh man. Dan Deacon is a WEIRDO!

Is he in a state of arrested development or something? I wish I had been in the studio for this performance on some morning news station in Georgia. They seem totally freaked out:

What a freak! But I lurves him, and I lurves the song “Snake Mistakes” so much I picked it for this week’s Best Song Ever.

You can listen to it here.

I’m pretty sure this song is about three things: a snake making mistake, someone getting mad at bees, and someone having a really cool dad. Any of the following could be possible: Dan Deacon feels like a snake, Dan Deacon gets really pissed at bees that hover, Dan Deacon has a really cool dad. But somehow I really don’t think Dan Deacon is writing about himself. I think he’s writing from some alternate universe where he could inhabit the bodies of multiple beings at once and direct them in a massive piece of theater that could solve global warming.

SRSLY!

Oh, and it’s funky as hell.

T-Minus… A Few Hours. I Don’t Feel Like Doing Math.

posted by on July 27 at 11:41 AM

Block Party set-up has begun. Pike is shut down from Broadway to 12th. 10th and 11th are shut down from Pine to Union.

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Pike and Broadway

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Beer garden

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Vera Stage and sound tent

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Mainstage

BP Organizer Dave Meinert was wandering the grounds and, seeing as how the biggest block party in the city is set to go down in about four hours, he seemed really calm. He’s also stoked about the new mainstage which, according to him, is bigger this year—higher and wider. He also promises that it won’t sway and constantly threaten to collapse (or at least look like it) like the stage did during last year’s Murder City Devils’ performance.

Ol’ Buck, the Final Installment

posted by on July 27 at 11:37 AM

And finally, Young Buck: The Complete Pre-Capitol Recordings (Audium Entertainment, 2001).

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Before the Bakersfield sound, before Carnegie Hall, before Hee Haw, Owens was trying to find his voice, and in the mid-to-late ’50s he produced some excellent music, collected here in the 21-track anthology Young Buck: The Complete Pre-Capitol Recordings. The songs here are extremely stripped down compared to his recordings just a few years later; he hasn’t got that amped-up shuffle going on yet, so these songs are all in the vein of traditional country like Webb Pierce and Hank Williams, with a couple rockabilly numbers thrown in. And there’s no Don Rich. That’s not to say that the songs on this album are bad, they’re just different from what a fan of Owens might be used to. I personally cherish this album. I love it.

This was the only Owens album I had for years, so getting into his more freight-train-style ’60s stuff was difficult for me at first. Unfortunately, I just have a copy of the CD, so I don’t have the liner notes, nor can I find much information about the songs on the album. From Owens’s website I’ve learned that in 1956 he recorded for Pep “It Don’t Show on Me,” “Down on the Corner of Love,” “The House Down the Block,” and “Right After the Dance” in L.A., and “Sweethearts in Heaven,” “There Goes My Love,” “Hot Dog,” and “Rhythm and Booze” in Bakersfield. “Country Girl (Leavin’ Dirty Tracks)” was recorded for Chesterfield in 1957. But who’s playing with Owens on these songs? When and where were the other tracks recorded? I have no idea.

The best on the CD: “It Don’t Show on Me” tells of Owens hiding his hurt from his gal; “The House Down the Block” is his family home that he longs for but is too disgraced to enter; “Country Girl (Leavin’ Dirty Tracks)” has a pleasantly painful steel-guitar lick and great lyrics (“You should’ve know that country feet/were never meant for city streets”); “Honeysuckle” is a fantastic upbeat instrumental; “Blue Love” ends with the line “My life was only meant for misery” (yes!); in “Right After the Dance” Owens says he’s going to “make love to you right after the dance” (I think “make love” had a different meaning back then); “Sweethearts in Heaven” is good, but the premise is kind of creepy, as the title suggests; “Down on the Corner of Love” has a sweet, soaring chorus; “There Goes My Love”; “Please Don’t Take Her from Me”; “Why Don’t My Mommy Stay with My Daddy and Me?” These are all first-rate honky-tonk tunes, and all the songs on this CD are good, some better than others. The rockabilly stuff (“Hot Dog” and “Rhythm and Booze,” originally recorded under the name Corky Jones) isn’t as good as the honk tonk.

There’s lots of fiddle and some piano, and an alternate take of “Blue Love” features trumpet, à la Bob Wills, and studio chatter of Owens telling his “fellas” how the song’s gonna go. (“I want piano, but I don’t want too much piano. Run a little piano, and a little trumpet, and a little bit of everything, but don’t run too much of one thing. And make it short.”)

These songs show that Owens is already an excellent songwriter—musically and lyrically—writing and performing heartfelt, hurtin’ tunes.

And now I see, hot off the presses from cmt.com, that Owens pupil and collaborator Dwight Yoakam is going to release an Owens tribute album, Dwight Sings Buck, on October 23, with the magnificent “Close Up the Honky Tonks” as the first single. My sister’s going to be pumped.

Previously discussed: Together Again/My Heart Skips a Beat, I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail, The Instrumental Hits of Buck Owens and His Buckaroos, and Carnegie Hall Concert.

Hot Mix Action!!!!!

posted by on July 27 at 10:39 AM

Two mixes for you today, to help get you through the last hours before the Block Party.

1) Red Pony (Rebecca West) @ Broken Disco

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I spent this week’s column gushing about Rebecca West and her Red Pony set at the last Broken Disco. Now the set can finally be shared with those who might not have been in attendance that night. Rebecca originally recorded the set in real-time but accidentally overwrote the file, so she recreated it in her studio. Enjoy.


2) DJ Pretty Titty for Discobelle.net

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Seattle’s getting its name out there on the hipster dance circuit, and now DJ Pretty Titty’s made the digital big time, contributing to a mix for discobelle.net (good site with a constant flow of fresh tunes). He’s compiled the second half of a mix with Devlin Darko (of Spankrock). Both are playing the Block Party Saturday night. Enjoy.

Moools Update!

posted by on July 27 at 10:33 AM

OK, so remember yesterday, when I was talking about that band the Moools? And how I love them? And how I wish they would play with Phil Elvrum?

Well, get ready to crap your pants!

I received this email today from Tristan, the booking assistant at the Vera Project:

Ari,
Just letting you know that the Moools are playing at The Vera Project on October 2, with Mt. Eerie, PWRFL Power, and The Oregon Donor. Also, this show is All-Ages. So yeah.

He sounds a little pissed off that I didn’t check…which he should be. Bad Ari!

I also received this comment on the post itself, from the Moools themselves.

Thanks for writing about us. We’re so excited to play in Seattle again with our old friend John Atkins’ The Can’t See. We also have another show at The Vera Project Oct 2 with Mt. Eerie. We’ll down the west coast with Mt. Eerie. Please check our myspace http://www.myspace.com/moools.

Genial!

All my problems are solved! Although, I haven’t been able to get the music on the Myspace to play, but that’s probably Myspace’s problem (they’ve been acting wonky for a good while…if you get the music to play, leave a comment and I will go back and try again).

Bell Bottom Bliss: “Kiss You All Over” by Exile

posted by on July 27 at 9:45 AM

I was four years old in 1978. I don’t know where I heard this song or how it stayed with me til now, but it did. Without the internet, who knows how long it would’ve taken me to find Exile again? Go internet!

Because really—this is a rollerskatingly good song. The keyboard drone is cool in a Styx-ish sci-fi way, but I really dig the scuzzy guitar riff/bass line counterpoint—it’s sort of epic. The fact that this is certainly one of the blissfully cheesiest vocals of all time exponentially reduces the epicness.

And that chorus—the song turns all electro space-funk badditude for a split-second. Rad!

Peep the video—it’s the best of the series so far. The middle guy looks like he belongs in a different band—one that strums lutes in a countryside and sings about ladies fair. And the keyboardist’s mega-mullet is a thing of stunning ridiculosity.

Wiki says Exile is a country band.

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Crayola 2: Out-Takes

posted by on July 27 at 9:34 AM

Blue Crayola had an alternate fantasy sequence to Berlin. And there were Hawaiian tourists that wanted pictures. Falco’s “Der Kommissar” never sounded better.

Unfortunately, Berlin and Falco won’t make this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party, but the Crayolas will be there, getting fuzzy and distributing candy:



Femi Kuti @ the Showbox

posted by on July 27 at 8:29 AM

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A palpable whoosh hit the room as Femi Kuti and the Postive Force took the stage, the collective gale expelled by five horn players, two percussionists, three costumed dancers, a rhythm section, a guitarist, and a keyboardist. And then Femi stoically marched to center stage and grabbed the mic. Behind him, the massive band erupted thunder, and a two-hour session of Motherland-made Afrobeat descended on the Showbox.

The band was insanely tight. And loud. And funky as hell. Five horns—baritone and tenor sax, trumpets, and trombone—locked in instantly, punching out syncopated blasts or wailing long melodic lines. As the rhythm section—a conga/bongo player and kit drummer—smashed out driving beats, the horns waited til the most precipitous moment… waited as the guitarist snaked his way through chicki-chicki syncopation… while the bassist built a steady pulse… while Femi chanted and crooned huskily… and then WRAAAAAAAAAAH would rush in all at once, sending the audience into a frenzy every single time.

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With his second song Femi showed exactly how distinct he is from dear old dad. Where Femi clunked and blustered his way through the clunky, blustery sloganeering of “Stop AIDS,” Fela would’ve dismantled the entire African socio-medical industry with a song about a pair of pants. Femi is far less metaphoric than his father, and the song mired the set early on, when it should’ve been ascending.

But he recovered quickly. During a sax solo on the next song, Femi held his note for a good three minutes or so, circular breathing while the rest of the horns bopped and roared behind him. It was an extended moment of trance-like blues.

Later on, Femi’s didacticism finally worked in his favor, as he chanted the chorus of his international hit “Beng Beng Beng”—“Don’t come too fast.” It was an appropriately raw lyric for a style of music that’s undeniably sexual, sensual. The almost-sold-out crowd, diverse in age, color, and dress code—ate it up.

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Through it all, Femi conducted the band like a classical conductor turned shirtless heartthrob, imperious in his control and dignified in his between-song banter. One thing the man certainly inherited from his father: he knows how to run a stage.

Femi’s breed of Afrobeat is cleaner, more globalized than Fela’s. His equipment is better, lacking the cranky, crackling, lo-fi scuzz that makes so much of Fela’s music so dark and harrowing. No doubt Femi has a broader vocal range; he’s probably a better sax player too. He lacks the intellectual venom of Fela, but perhaps that stems from a displomacy, an ability to communicate with a larger audience, that his father lacked, that his father could only pave the way for. There’s little chance of son being the same innovator as father, but he has the opportunity to bring about a greater influence.

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Photos by Morgan Keuler


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Capitol Hill Block Party: Not Sold Out… Yet

posted by on July 26 at 5:00 PM

People have been e-mailing us about Block Party tickets, hearing that they’re sold out. Well they’re not. Dave Meinert just sent this message giving everyone the full scoop:

Tickets are selling fast for the Block Party - more tickets have sold in advance for this year than any year in Block Party history - however, it’s not sold out….yet!

Tickets for both Friday and Saturday are still available online at Ticketswest and Ticketswest outlets, and at the Neumo’s box office. Advance tickets for Friday will stop being sold tonight, but there will be tickets available at the festival. Tickets for Saturday will stay on sale until Saturday morning, and then will also be available at the festival. OK? IT”S NOT SOLD OUT. No matter what anyone tells you, there will be tickets at the festival for sale for both days, promise.

We suggest people arrive early to get your tickets at the festival to avoid lines. There are two places to get tickets at the festival - the main entrance is at Broadway and Pike - this is where you go if you ordered your tickets online and are getting them at ‘will call’, and you can also enter here if you have tickets, and you can also buy tickets here. However, there is also a gate at 12th Ave and Pike where you can purchase tickets and get in if you already have a ticket. The gate at 12th and Pike usually has shorter lines so is the quicker way to get in if you care about those kind of things.

A map of the Block Party showing the entrances is available here - http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/special/blockparty?page=map

There will be plenty of beer flowing in the beer gardens, but if you want the hard stuff, be sure to stop by the bars - Cha Cha, Moe Bar, Sugar, Havana, the Comet, and Wild Rose are all inside the festival and all great places to get out of the sun and get your drink on. You can see the mainstage from inside of Sugar and the Comet. Rock on!

By The Way You Dance

posted by on July 26 at 4:50 PM

Bunny Sigler - By The Way You Dance 12With my recent trip to New York, I found a used record store in which I was able to stock up on all those classic Salsoul disco 12-inches and Lp’s I’m always longing for. One of my favorite records that I found was Bunny Sigler’s second LP titled, I’ve Aways Wanted To Sing… released back in 1979. This Salsoul-distributed Gold Mine records release was mixed by legendary engineer Bob Blank, while most of the music was recorded by members of Paradise Garage favorites Instant Funk, a disco/funk band that Sigler played in. My two favorite cuts from the LP are “By The way You Dance”, which Sigler is most known for, and “Simple Things You Do”. Both are classic disco songs that where staples in the NYC clubs of the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s. If you love that early disco sound from NYC and Philadelphia, I highly recommend I’ve Aways Wanted To Sing….

Bunny Sigler - By The Way You Dance
Bunny Sigler - Simple Things You Do

————————-

Also remember, tonight is the first night of Pony’s Circus!. Classic Disco and Italo from the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s, all night long!

Circus!
at Pony (Formerly Cha Cha Lounge)
1013 E Pike St, Seattle, Washington 98122
9PM $3

See you there!

The Moools Are Coming!!!

posted by on July 26 at 4:18 PM

I love getting my calendars from clubs every week with all the updated show listings. You get to see all the new stuff that’s confirmed. Right now is a great time to look at them, too, because all the September tours are starting to get booked. Here’s a choice nugget from today’s mail-pile:

1: The Moools @ Chop Suey on September 30th with the Can’t See and a SECRET AWESOME GUEST (it will be announced later in the summer)
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Ok. The Moools are opening this show because you’ve never heard of them. It’s ok, they’re from Japan. They don’t have a Myspace that I can find, and they don’t have an American record label (but K did distribute the above EP of theirs). So how do I even know about them, other than the fact that I am super smart?

So one time, back in the ye-olde dayes of aught-three, I had just moved to Seattle and I had no fucking idea what was going on. But somewhere in my travels I managed to pick up a flyer for a show at the old Luscious Studios loft space. If I am correct, at the time, this was the home to the Stranger’s own Sam Mickens, along with a lot of other perfect no-goodniks. It was a three band lineup—the Microphones, the Moools, and a woman named Nikaido Muzumi. This was the Microphones’ first show back from his Japanese tour, and these are the bands he toured with there. Phil Elvrum was just beginning a transition into Mt. Eerie at that point, and he recorded a live album on tour in Japan (it’s GREAT).

Blah Blah Blah. The point is, that night, the Moools, Nikaido, and Phil all played together for Phil’s set. It was the most beautiful music I had ever heard (and, going through my brain-memory, it’s definitely still at the top). Nikaido sounds like Bjork, but gentler and a little more standard, the Moools are just a great experimental psych band, and Elvrum was at the top of his game (a rarely seen artifact), playing a steel drum and singing at the top of his lungs. He wasn’t even that nervous, which he usually is. It was one of the best shows there ever was, and it proved to me that the Microphones/Mt. Eerie are worth your time if they create one-tenth of that available magic.

So, if the Moools are from Japan and they rarely come to America and no one here knows about them except for Phil Elvrum and he only lives in Anacortes, maybe I am thinking there might possibly be a reunion of this magic? I’m not saying he’s the secret guest on the show (because he’s not. I’ll tell you that one when the time comes), but I am hoping that he might just take the Greyhound down and maybe bring his steel drum. It would definitely make my entire fall just to re-live that one hour we all spent together four years ago.

Block Party Band of the Day!

posted by on July 26 at 2:53 PM

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Talbot Tagora

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Talbot Tagora:

The Talbot Tagora was an executive car developed by Chrysler Europe and produced by Peugeot Société Anonyme (PSA). The Tagora was marketed under the Talbot marque after PSA took over Chrysler’s European operations in 1979. PSA presented the first production vehicle in 1980 and launched it commercially in 1981. The Tagora fell far short of sales expectations, and PSA cancelled the model only two years later. Fewer than 20,000 Tagoras were ever built, all of them at the former Simca factory in the Poissy commune near Paris, France.

Here’s what the Stranger’s Capitol Hill Block Party guide says about Talbot Tagora:

Seattle upstarts Talbot Tagora play intricate postpunk full of dexterous guitars, flailing drum fills, and distant vocals. Their songs churn and twist unpredictably from chanted refrains to discordant riffs, but they reveal catchy hooks throughout, often in the most unusual moments. While the guitars and drums are playfully aggressive, the vocals are almost timid, delivered as mumbles or through walls of reverb, and the contrast makes for some spectacular tension.

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Talbot Tagora play the Vera Stage on Friday, July 27th at 4:00pm.

Block Party Band Of MY ASS

posted by on July 26 at 2:39 PM

Hi folks! I’m Larry.

I write the hiphop column ‘round here. I’m also in a local hiphop crew called Cancer Rising.
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I don’t write about my own crew in my column cuz I’m not a fucking tool. I hope. I’m realizing now however that this is a bit of a hindrance- cuz goddamn it, who else at this place is going to do it? Zwickel definitely looks out, but I wouldn’t trust the rest of these fools to guess Erick Sermon’s last name- that goes double for you, Charles. So just for this brief, shining moment, I gives a fuck about propriety. I’m plugging us.
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So yeah, we rap. Put out a CD that was on KEXP’s best-of-‘05 list(#45), played some good shows, got a new EP coming out next month (god willing). Our old CD had a song called “Rawkstar” that is in every way superior to the Shop Boyz’ “Party Like A Rockstar”. (Schmader, something tells me you’ll back me on this.) Listen to it here if you want.

We’re playing the Neumos Stage tomorrow night @ 10:15pm- right between Viva Voce and The Trucks. Come thru, say wassup.

Circus Tonight @ Pony!

posted by on July 26 at 2:00 PM

Tonight is the debut of a new dance night at Pony, everyone’s favorite gay hole (in the wall). The night is called Circus, and it features not one but three Line Out bloggers on the decks—DJs El Toro (aka Kurt B Reighley), Heavy Mental Army (aka Terry Miller), and TJ Gorton (aka, well, TJ Gorton).

Circus will be a night of lesser known disco gems—you will not hear “It’s Raining Men” or “Disco Inferno”—you will hear plenty of true school disco, Italo oddities, and sneaky re-edits. Terry also mentioned something about hot pants, moustaches, and Sandra Bernhardt, but I have no idea what he was on about. To get a taste for what you might hear tonight, check out Terry’s Musical Life and these mp3s from American Athlete:

Mascara - “Baja (Instrumental Dub Remix)”


The Popular People’s Front - “I Love Only You”

Ol’ Buck, part 4

posted by on July 26 at 1:38 PM

Today in Buck Owens it’s 1966’s Carnegie Hall Concert (Capitol).

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I bought this accidentally; it was inside the Together Again LP sleeve I bought at Bop Street, and while I looked at the condition of the record before buying it, I didn’t look at the labels on the disc, so I was rather surprised when I got home and put the record on. When I brought it back, Bop Street was kind enough to let me grab an actual copy of Together Again and keep this sleeveless Carnegie Hall Concert, too.

I like Carnegie Hall Concert, but it’s a little disappointing, mainly because Owens and the Buckaroos group 13 great songs into three short medleys. Fuck medleys! While they do play seven songs in their complete forms (although Doyle Holly’s version of “Streets of Laredo” is abbreviated, and “Waitin’ in Your Welfare Line” is one of my least favorite Owens songs), the fact that so many more could’ve been played all the way through hurts. And I know the concert is edited on my LP version; there’s no way they played that short of a show at Carnegie Hall.

So, I wondered if it had been rereleased in its entirety, and sure enough, in 2000 Sundazed Music put out a complete, unedited version. Mostly what’s been added back, however, is banter—an introduction by DJ Lee Arnold of WJRZ in Newark and segments called “Fun ’n’ Games with Don & Doyle” and “Buck Talks to the Audience”—and the song “Twist and Shout.” The banter on this album is supremely goofy, but I love the between-song talking on live albums, so more of it is sort of a blessing and a curse (though I like the sound of “Fun ’n’ Games with Don & Doyle”). I guess what I really want out of this album is for most of the songs in those medleys to be in their full-length form, and that’s just not going to happen for me.

That said, it’s a fun album, and I do enjoy it. Buck and the Buckaroos play well, they play all their hits, and they’re having a really great time. The banter is silly and awkward, but in a mostly endearing way, although some of Owens’s corniest jokes make me wince. I can see why Hee Haw wanted him as host.

At one point, while talking about how he and the Buckaroos had been to New York, but hadn’t actually played there, he slips up and says, “We never got to pick and sing for you; we’re gonna change that. We’re gonna do it to you tonight—er—for you tonight.” And the audience laughed. Was that on purpose, or a slip of the tongue? Who knows, but I like it either way.

Here’s “Act Naturally,” the concert opener:

Previously discussed: Together Again/My Heart Skips a Beat, I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail, The Instrumental Hits of Buck Owens and His Buckaroos . Up next, the final installment: Young Buck: The Complete Pre-Capitol Recordings.

Perhaps the Funniest Thing to Ever Run in The Stranger Ever?

posted by on July 26 at 12:36 PM

Perhaps.

There’s a lot of great content in this week’s Capitol Hill Block Party pull-out (including blurbs on every band/artist/DJ playing, and interviews with the Blue Scholars and Against Me! and Girl Talk and the Saturday Knights), but the thing that has me ROFLMAO!!one!#% is the piece in which Kaz Nomura, the man behind PWRFL POWER, interviews himself.

KAZ: I feel very fortunate and honored to do an interview with you, PWRFL POWER. There is a rumor that you are already the last genius of the century. It’s not even 2010 yet!

PWRFL POWER: [Laughs] Stop flattering, Kazu.


I heard you have a huge crush on Tiny Vipers.

Who told you that!? Yes… I do. I had a dream about her a few days ago. We were in a bathroom and she said, “Kazu, don’t watch me pee.” So I looked at the wall and there was a mirror hung. I tried to see her in the mirror…

And then…

I woke up. I saw a girl sleeping right next to me. It was in NYC. I met the girl at some bar and she was a huge fan of Spoon. So I told her that I am playing with them in Seattle. That was quick. And that’s the night I started liking Spoon. They are awesome.

Read the whole hilarious thing by clicking here. PWRFL POWER plays the main stage Saturday afternoon at 2 pm.

It’s Coming…

posted by on July 26 at 12:21 PM

The Capitol Hill Block Party, that is. And according to weather.com, we can expect nothing but sun, mostly blue sky, and perfect temperatures.

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Hooray!

Toothless, Hairless

posted by on July 26 at 12:16 PM

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Local art-core squealers Teeth & Hair are breaking up. They’re playing their final two shows tonight at Club Pop at Chop Suey with Tim Sweeney (DFA, Beats in Space) and tomorrow on some mysterious “ship.” Catch them while you can, and keep your eyes peeled—individual teeth and hairs are bound to turn up in some new bands.

Gonna Fly Now

posted by on July 26 at 10:04 AM

Introducing the Crayola Drinking Club. Fuzzy, colorful, and ready for love.

Saturday, at this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party, the Crayolas will be roaming and looking to give out candy, and big hugs. Beware. Their handler, Stanley Cramdorf, will be asking trivia questions. Answer correctly and get candy and hug. Answer wrong, and you must wear the infamous Yellow suit.

So study up on your Block Party Trivia: Which member of the Saturday Knights studied ballet? Which main stage band is named after an eating utensil? What is Dan Savage’s favorite kind of ice cream?

Here are the Crayolas in training to get ready for their big day:



Bell Bottom Bliss: “My Love Is Alive” by Gary Wright

posted by on July 26 at 8:24 AM

Yeah, he’s better known for “Dream Weaver,” which might work its way onto this list if other songs aren’t available, but Gary Wright is at his gooey, groovy best with “My Love is Alive.” This is the kind of mid-tempo, Mellotron-ed schmaltz that haters love to hate on, but that organ vamp-vs-bassline is totally digable. Makes me wish I drove a Pinto.

What happened to this guy? Where’d he come from, where’d he go? His love is alive, but is he? An entire fan-fic series could be written about Gary Wright: He pals up with George Harrison, scores a couple hits, crashes his Pinto, loses a leg, moves to Australia, starts sculpting giant nudes out of scrap metal, makes a fortune when he strikes oil in the outback, buys a yacht, becomes a pirate, marauds to a ’70s smooth rock soundtrack.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

“A Little Respect?” Yes, Please!

posted by on July 25 at 10:37 PM

Why am I posting this Erasure performance of “A Little Respect”?

Reason #1: Stranger writer Dean Fawkes went to the Erasure show last night. Scroll down just a little bit to see what he thought (he loved it).

Reason #2: My friends Chris and Katie renewed their wedding vows last weekend and on the mix CD handed out at the reception was Erasure’s “A Little Respect.”

Reason #3: “A Little Respect” was a much-loved tune from my childhood and until I listened to it on Chris and Katie’s mix CD this afternoon, I had forgotten all about it. Now, remembering how much I loved and love it, I’m sort of kicking myself for not going to last night’s show.

Really, though, did I even need a reason?

Erasure + Young Love

posted by on July 25 at 7:59 PM

(Photo and review submitted by Stranger music writer Dean Fawkes.)

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Everyone likes to name-check the ’80s, but no one quite gets it right.

With a whole industry built on post-punk nostalgia and ironic neon-graffiti techno, from the Editors to Calvin Harris, it’s never bothered to understand what originally made the movements worth the time: the rules-free, experimental cultural tourism, or the sense of future-shocked wonder and worry—the idea of thrill over cool.

Which is why no one else has managed to be like Erasure but Erasure. There’s Depeche Mode or the Pet Shop Boys, which are the obvious reference points, who also puncture eastern-bloc keyboard-based electronics with Catholic gay guilt. But since 1985, Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have always been more interested in taking it someplace else, a brighter place, a place with an outrageously joyful, us-against-the-world dancefloor of ABBA and Giorgio Moroder instead of one for Kraftwerk or Oscar Wilde. They explode and go for gold. Absolute pop.

In other words, Erasure played at the Moore last night and they were very good.

Lights down and curtain gone, the opening licks of new single “Sunday Girl” kick off and the stage is revealed. There’s a blue-glitter platform with stairs and running lights, large diamonds hanging from the ceiling, and half-a-dozen propped up flat-panels of old video, abstract motion-blurs, and animated cover art. Andy Bell’s on top, shaved head and back to the crowd. He turns and walks down the steps to the lyrics, and the crowd’s at its feet. This is an assigned-seat audience of thirty-something romantics and gay men with shoulder-striped t-shirts. Lots of memories in everyone’s looks. But the crowd’s a mass of dance and claps, for everything from the pure pop all-classic escalation of “Drama!” to the new four-on-the-floor of “Sucker For Love”—where Bell doubles the volume of his voice at the chorus—through to a streak of greatest hits like “Oh L’Amour,” “Stop,” and “Blue Savannah.”

While Light At The End Of The World, the new album, is their most club-fueled in a decade, it doesn’t catch in the end, and along with a string of ballads, the mood staggers. No one wants to hear anything but singles, it seems. Bell, who recently revealed is HIV positive, is also hard to pin down, as he alternates between pop star-strut confidence and boy-at-school-play body-language.

It’s easy to forget that Erasure came out when it was dangerous. That we’ve been a fan since junior-high, but have never seen them before. Then something like “Love to Hate You” happens, a track from the band’s early ’90s peak. With disco-synths, South American staccato, and female backup singers vocalizing the keyboard bits, the song launches over a wall of strobes, and the place goes to pieces. It hangs in the air for the rest of the night, and it’s all we can think of after the lights come up, as we funnel out to the streets.

This is one of those bands with such an ear for melody and theatricality that no one else can fake it. As an industry falls back on more acceptable Gang Of Four records and keyboard-guitar parodies, they highlight where we are, in a loop of cultural karaoke, flanked by bullshit ’80s poserism and the Bravery.

Erasure gave us all preposterous videos, albums with exclamation marks, and now a set-list and discography that reads like the lushest, most triumphant and brilliantly flamboyant synth-pop songs of all-time. Which is the only right way to do it.

(Photo and review submitted by Stranger music writer Dean Fawkes.)

This is What Happens When Kanye West Meets Zach Galifianakis

posted by on July 25 at 4:06 PM

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Click on the video stills to watch the whole thing at www.kanyewest.com. Words cannot describe.

Bands of the Day: Against Me! and Kane Hodder

posted by on July 25 at 2:51 PM

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Hey, have you guys heard of this Against Me! band? Of course you have. Only everyone in the free-thinking world has an opinion about their major-label debut New Wave.

The thing is, opinions and controversy aside, that infamous little rock and roll band from Florida still maintains a spot on my “Best Show Ever” list. They’re cathartic, loud, passionate, full of unabashed energy and they always look like they’re having the best time of their lives playing together. I’ve seen ‘em multiple times over the course of five or so years and only once was it a little boring. And in that instance, rumors claimed singer Tob Gabel had been stepped on the night before the show and his ribs hurt, causing the lackluster performance.

New Wave has plenty of fast and anthemic moments that will, when paired with the classics they still litter their sets with, take the live show back the days of singing along with your fist in the air.

Unless someone steps on Tom again, or kicks Warren, or falls on James or Andrew, Against Me’s performance might just be one of the weekend’s highlights. They’re fantastic, I tell you. Fan-fucking-tastic. Expect something like this:

Against Me! play the mainstage Saturday night at 8:15 pm. I can’t fucking wait.

Playing Friday night are the local hardcore/pop/don’t-even-try-to-define-them-because-you-really-can’t Kane Hodder.

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(Photo by Chris Van Wick)

Like Against Me!, Hodder put on the kind of show that leaves you sweating, smiling, and completely satisfied. From every on-point poppy falsetto, to every shredding metal breakdown, Hodder cross all genre lines, incorporating elements of every thing you’ve ever heard in your entire life into each song. Okay, that might be a bit of an overstatement. But while singer Andrew Moore starts screaming and the bass starts booming and your stomach starts sinking, you think you’re watching a hardcore show. Then the guitars kick in with something melodic and fluid, your heart begins to race, and the drums become crisp and playful—suddenly watching a dancey pop band. They’re schizo-core, instable and unpredictable. They’re everything you don’t want your brain to be, but they make crazy sound so good.

Listen to them via MySpace, see them at 9 pm on the Vera stage Friday night.

Maybe This Is Old News, But…

posted by on July 25 at 2:06 PM

Apparently EMP has reduced its entry fee—from $22.95 (not counting those stupid “MEG” portable headsets that allow you to “interact” with all the dusty junk on display) to $15, including admission to the unspeakably lame Sci-Fi Museum (AKA Paul Allen’s teenage bedroom.) I found this out when I went to the Sci-Fi Museum last night to see some crusty old science-fiction writer read (not my idea; can you tell?) and ended up wandering around Seattle Center instead; EMP’s JBL Theatre, crowded with geeks in bad haircuts and women in flowing, flowery dresses, was just too depressing.

Will the cost-cutting strategy work? Who knows; the biggest problem with EMP (leaving aside its laughably dated late-’90s aesthetic) is that its exhibits are static, not experiential; “interacting” with the museums means pressing to press a button and listen to music or a prerecorded message. The “experience,” as I’ve written before, is a tremendous disappointment.

The Bliss of Velvety Maroon Loons

posted by on July 25 at 2:00 PM

So, the Zwick got me thinking…if I were to make the BBB scene it’d sound something like this…

1. Deep Purple - Speed King
2. Family - Second Generation Woman
3. Fat Mattress - Naturally
4. James Gang - Cast Your Fate To The Wind
5. Slade - Gudbuy T’Jane
6. Alice Cooper - Caught In A Dream
7. Poco - And Settlin’ Down
8. Free - The Stealer
9. The Byrds - Changing Heart
10. The Move - When Alice Comes Back To The Farm
11. Quicksilver - Flames
12. The Raspberries - Play On
13. Mott The Hoople - Thunderbuck Ram
14. Status Quo - Is There A Better Way

…more LP tracks and less ‘A’ sides, I’d reckon.

Free - the Stealer

Slade - Gudbuy T’jane

The Battle of Seattle

posted by on July 25 at 1:54 PM

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Sunday night’s Fresh Produce brought the Triple Threat DJs—Vinroc, Shortkut, and Apollo—to Havana’s hiphop weekly, and the heads showed up in herds. Badass breaking early in the night from Massive Monkeys kept a ring of bodies around the dancefloor, but by the time Triple Threat started up, with Apollo dropping Dre, Vinrock rocking Kanye, and Shortcut doing Dilla, the whole room was dancing the swirl. Seriously—our man Brandon Ivers described the mood as “the antidote to rock shows,” no pretense, all bump ‘n’ grind, packed and sweaty. It also must be said that the women who frequent hiphop nights are unfailingly the foxiest around.

But while the DJ action was going down inside, the climax of the night came out in the parking lot, where I was privvy to a tiny slice of Seattle history. Ivers, Larry “Gatsby” Mizell, and myself were kicking it next to someone’s parked car, its doors open and beats pouring from within.

Suddenly, Karim “Nightclubber Lang” Panni, the night’s co-promoter and member of true-school crew the Boom Bap Project, steps up to Mizell and demands a battle. (Karim is ALWAYS on—it was the first time I’ve seen the dude since college and he’s STILL talking the same quick-witted shit from back in the day. First thing he says to me: “So. You’re still ugly.”)

Lang came out swinging, took Gatsby by surprise and pounced on the opportunity. Gatsby reeled but came back strong with a few valiant bars, but he was struggling like a wounded grizzly. Lang stayed on the offensive, ready and waiting, and rhymed something with “Zwickel”—wish like hell I could remember what it was. That brought smiles and “oh shit”s from the small crowd. Both fighters had clearly been dipping into the sauce before the bout, and I think we were outside because things were being smoked, so the toe-to-toe wasn’t as elegant as it might’ve been in more sober circumstances. Gatsby stumbled and fell back, ready to bow out, while the Nightclubber kept punching, brutal, relentless. Though it was a technical knockout, Lang walked away with the title.

Music to Crash Your Car To

posted by on July 25 at 1:27 PM

Compiling a list of songs about car accidents has been done. But the other day, while listening to Jawbox’s “Motorist,” I rode past a very minor car accident on Elliott. The scenario was sort of perfect for the lyrics.

When you examined the wreck, what did you see?
Glass everywhere and wheels still spinning free.
When you examined the wreck, what did you see?
Glass everywhere and wheels still spinning free.
Accidental, maybe.
Restraints too frayed to withhold me.

As the bus rolled past, I found myself wondering what the drivers were listening to at the time of the crash. People are almost always listening to something while driving.

I’ve been in a number of accidents, but only two times do I remember the songs playing. One time it was Possum Dixon. I was singing along and then BAM! Another time, years ago, I was listening to Bright Eyes. It was the most serious accident I have ever been in and it involved hitting a cop car. I know, right? The song kept playing after my car had collided and rolled off to the side of the road. It was “A New Arrangement” from the Everyday and Every Night EP.

So baby, when I call to you I want you to come
and lay it out for everyone
exactly how it was before any of this happened
and why you can’t leave it behind

Because the airbag had deployed, the car was filled with the powder and I was coughing a lot. It happened just a block or two from the fire station, so response was pretty much immediate—a fireman was yelling into my broken window “You’re okay! You’re going to be fine! That’s not smoke you’re breathing, that’s powder from the airbag! Don’t move! You’re going to be okay!”

Conor Oberst kept singing.

I was fine.

Get Into the Daft Punk Afterparty for Free

posted by on July 25 at 11:38 AM

Send an RSVP via an events networking site, get into the official Daft Punk afterparty for free, use the $10 you saved on beer (or Sprite). It’s all very simple.

From the press release:

THE OFFICIAL DAFT PUNK AFTERPARTY

Featuring
SebastiAn & Kavinsky (Ed Banger Crew, Paris)
Vito, Druzzi, Mattie, & Luke The Duke (Throne of Blood, NY)
FREE with RSVP to going.com or $10 at the door

9 pm doors
21+

RSVP to: http://going.com/DaftPunkRaptureSea


There’s a a contest for tickets to Daft Punk as well. Details after the jump.

Continue reading "Get Into the Daft Punk Afterparty for Free" »

The Summer of My Discontent Mixtape

posted by on July 25 at 11:32 AM

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Over the last few days I’ve realized a trend in my summer listening. Rather than the expected light, poppy fare, I’ve gravitated toward the heavy, epic, and melancholy. Sure, everything I’m listening to kicks mucho ass and adds a certain gravitas to mundane activity (nothing like an eardrum rattling climax to make you feel like a walk down the hill is going to change your life), but damn, it’s got me paranoid that I’m overdeveloping my inner sad bastard. Here are the bands in constant rotation:

Explosions in the Sky
Jesu
Mono
Junius
Caspian

And an order I made earlier this week included (sure to continue this trend a little longer):
More Jesu
Pelican
Isis
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To give you a better sense of what I’m talking about, here’s a mixtape featuring a track from each of the above bands (standard RIAA disclaimer - each was procured from the web, not P2P). I recommend it for late nights, not sunny days. If you do opt to listen to this during your normal activities, be prepared for everything to take on a heightened sense of melodrama.

Image from flickr user sleestak66.

Yacht - “Women of the World”

posted by on July 25 at 11:16 AM

Ol’ Buck, part 3

posted by on July 25 at 10:38 AM

My copyediting duties have kept me from my promised Buck Owens posts for the past two days, but now they’re back. Today, it’s The Instrumental Hits of Buck Owens and His Buckaroos (Capitol, 1965).

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The extremely danceable Instrumental Hits of Buck Owens and His Buckaroos is absolutely wonderful. It really shows off all the Buckaroos’ talents. That’s something I love about Buck Owens: He lets all his players shine equally; it’s not all about him.

The album notes helpfully outline who’s featured on each of the songs, and we get plenty of Don Rich on fiddle and guitar. Oh, and did you know that Rich was originally from Tumwater? Way to go, Washington! And, when Rich died tragically in that motorcycle accident north of Bakersfield, he was only 32. This means that he was only 18 or 19 when he first started playing with Owens, and in his early to mid 20s when he made all these great records we’ve been talking about. Goddamn. The album notes rightly describe Rich’s fiddling as “handsome,” and it’s particularly handsome on “Orange Blossom Special” and Bob Wills’s “Faded Love” and “A Maiden’s Prayer.” He also plays a handsome guitar on “Buckaroo,” Owens’s theme song. Hell, he plays handsomely throughout the whole album. And just look at that ever-present smile.

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Owens adds his “rousing” guitar work, according to the album notes, to four cheerful polkas, which give props to the influence that Southern California Latino music had on Owens. Three of the polkas—“Buck’s Polka,” “Raz-Ma-Taz Polka,” and “Country Polka”—are essentially the same song with a few variances in each one; “Country Polka” is my favorite because it’s the fastest and it has a sweet piano solo. “Mexican Polka” appears to be a faster, reworked version of the excellent “Honeysuckle” off Young Buck: The Complete Pre-Capitol Recordings (more on this album later in the week). And steel guitarist Tom Brumley really rips it up on the fun “Bud’s Bounce” and “Steel Guitar Rag.”

Here’s “Buck’s Polka,” with Owens on guitar:

And “Cajun Fiddle,” featuring Rich on fiddle and Brumley on steel guitar (this isn’t on the album):

Previously discussed: Together Again/My Heart Skips a Beat, I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail. Up next: Carnegie Hall Concert (1966).

Bell Bottom Bliss: “The Groove Line” by Heatwave

posted by on July 25 at 7:46 AM

Heatwave shimmied the fine (white powder) line between funk and disco with this groovy ‘78 floor-filler. One could argue that the galloping beat, the synths, and the fake horns tilt it towards disco; one could also argue that this number could’ve been written and played as-is by the Ohio Players. It’s a win-win conundrum and either way the song’s the jam.

The cool thing about Bell Bottom Bliss is that it goes from whiteboy groove-blues to whiterboy glam-rock to glammy disco-funk in the space of three songs. In a lot of ways, the ’70s ruled.

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(Yes, that’s Andre3000’s uncle at the top of the pyramid. His name’s Andre2500.)

Full Decibel Lineup Announced

posted by on July 25 at 12:11 AM

After releasing a subset a few weeks ago, the Decibel Festival organizers have released the full lineup for this year’s edition, to be held September 20th-23rd. Scaling back didn’t happen in the slightest, with Decibel even finding new collaborators in Death of the Party (nice work on both sides for that one). They’ve managed to build a lineup that avoids the overlap you find in the rest of the festival circuit, setting this festival apart from its peers. So here’s the list (emphasis my own):

Simian Mobile Disco, Speedy J, Harold Budd & Robin Guthrie, Diplo, Biosphere, Switch, Robert Babicz aka Rob Acid, Guns N’ Bombs, 3 Channels, Bender aka Byetone, Motor, Claude VonStroke, DJ Heather, Chris de Luca vs. phon.o, Jeff Samuel, Frivolous, Kangding Ray, Mike Shannon, Lusine, Mikael Stavostrand, Monty Luke, Max Volume aka Jerry Abstract, Alland Byallo, Truckasaurus, Jacob London, Wolf + Lamb, Drumcell, Strategy, Rafael Anton Irisarri, Derek Plaslaiko, Acid Circus, Scott Pagano (Visuals), Caro, Taal Mala, Jon McMillion, Lissome, Overcast, Papa Slang Bass, Kristina Childs, Mat Anderson, Pretty Titty, Kris Moon, fourcolorzack, CHiKA (Visuals), Novatron, Nordic Soul, Ramiro, ndCv, Mori, KillingFrenzy, Logic Probe, Scott Sunn (Visuals), Hakea, Seiche, Electrosect, Scott K. James

Time to go buy a pass (only a limited number, so you won’t want to wait on that).

Full press release after the jump.

Continue reading "Full Decibel Lineup Announced" »


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Moondoggies

posted by on July 24 at 1:45 PM

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Six months after moving here and I’m really, truly, fully excited about Seattle music. I’ve fallen for a slew of local bands—not in a token “I live here so I gotta like it” kinda way, but in a sincere “holy shit there’s so much real talent here” kinda way. I’m hugely proud of this scene and hugely proud to be a part of it.

The Moondoggies are one of those bands I’ve fallen for. They’re not perfect, but man are they fucking good.

Actually, for the right situation, maybe they are perfect.

That situation: Driving around one of the Puget Sound islands, late morning, gray light, misty rain.

This past weekend was the second time I found myself in a rental car, cruising rolling forest roads, with the Seattle cosmic country rockers’ demo on the stereo, pulling me towards my destination. I’m listening to the perfect music for this moment, the moment and the music all thanks to Seattle and the sound and the Sound.

The Moondoggies, despite their name, are some serious dudes. The demo, again, isn’t perfect, but damn it’s close. A teenage Gram Parsons meets the Band behind the bleachers to smoke a joint: rollicking midtempo jams, Rhodes electric piano twinkling above group harmonies and bubbling bass lines. Plenty of chorus on every song, and usually more than one great hook. Like, almost too many hooks, until a few seven-plus minute songs burst from simple melodic lines into dark space and somber crescendoes. Some of it’s rollicking, some of it’s mellowed, but all of it’s sweetly sung and smartly played and catchy as hell.

Check out a song here, here, and here, or go to their site on The Stranger’s Bands Page.

The Moondoggies’ next gig’s at Conor Byrne on August 10. I’ve seen them live; they’re terrific, totally worth the drive to Ballard. Especially if you can rock the demo on the way there.

Block Party Band of the Day!

posted by on July 24 at 1:33 PM

Grand Archives vs BOAT

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Grand Archives are the harmony-laden, soft-rocking combo of Mat Brooke (Carissa’s Wierd, Band of Horses), Curtis Hall (the Jeunes, DJ Curtis), Jeff Montano (the New Mexicans), and Ron Lewis (Ghost Stories), with recent addition Thomas Wright (the Can’t See) rounding out the group. Though they exhibit some of the melancholy of Carissa’s Wierd, the band’s songs are ultimately hopeful and buoyant, and, local star power and sudden hype aside, these guys can write and sing some gorgeous songs. Grand Archives play the Neumo’s Stage on Saturday, July 28th at 7:45pm.

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BOAT are no strangers to the critical buzz either. The Seattle via Chicago power popsters have fans in high places, as evidenced by frequent coverage from Pitchfork—from their praise of singles “Elephant Ears” and “Come with Me, We’ll Win” to the recent perfectly respectable 7.8 review of their latest album, Let’s Drag Our Feet. Locally, they have a critical fan in Megan Seling as well, who calls them “really good at being Boat.” (Okay, that’s not the best quote, but I can’t seem to find anything but her most recent review of them). Also, their website URL comes from a Braid lyric (from “Please Drive Faster”), which wins them points with me. BOAT play the Vera Stage on Saturday, July 28th at 7:45pm.

Triptych Protozoa

posted by on July 24 at 1:08 PM

v1laser.jpgThe lasers at the Pacific Science Center Laser Dome aren’t just thin lime green lines of light. They are full color, 3D, multiple source flames of kaleidoscope. Ivan the laserist is a true arteest. The smoke machine spews and the lasers lick your face. The spindled hypno-tapestry patterns roll and spray butterfly wings with scattershot geometry. The proper way to view in the laser dome is to lie down. Ivan will splice you into a whale. There is earth and vertigo. The mothership heaves the motherboard overboard, who are the creatures that go? This is the dawning of the age of laserius.

Dang, who dosed me?

Voyager One played in the Laser Dome this past Saturday night. They’ve never sounded better. They are the perfect laser band. (Show preview.) Big round sound in a big round room. It was a gothic shoegaze séance. Very, very tight. Tight enough to drift to. Highlights were “Gun,” “Bed of Sound,” “Asleep in a Stereo Field,” “Satellite Eye,” and their cover of Pink Floyd’s “In the Flesh?” V1 has just released a new single + remixes called Bed of Sound. Download at Voyagerone.net.

And then there were the 16mm projections from Projectorhead. Yes, lasers and projections. Projectorhead uses up to five projectors and shows scenes from old movies and science films. It’s a subconscious interplay, ambiguous windows into what you may or may not be thinking. Scenes cut from summer camp horror stories to WWII rifle training, to water ballet, to Godzilla, and finally to lava.

Lasers and projections and Voyager One. An ultra fitting combination. A triptych for sure. A three-piece. The father, the sun, and the holy spear jet.

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The only thing to do was sit back or lie down and take it all in. The laser dome spun the electron shell. Tungsten is the filament that makes light bulbs work. I now understand. Get inside the tungsten. Projectorhead cuts to a new scene, Voyager One starts a new song, and Ivan goes light-speed.

You are protozoa. A one-celled organism. And you’re shooting through space.

(Pictures by: Brook Sorgen)

Block Party Bands of the (Yester)Day: Speaker Speaker and Mass Sugar

posted by on July 24 at 12:47 PM

I didn’t post the Block Party Band of the Day yesterday because I’m an idiot. I’m sorry. So without further self-deprication, I give you yesterday’s Block Party Bands of the Day: Mass Sugar and Speaker Speaker!

Both bands play the Capitol Hill Block Party Friday evening at 6:30 pm (the Blood Brothers are also playing at 6:30 pm, but they’ve already been the Band of the Day). Mass Sugar’s at the 21+ Neumo’s stage, Speaker Speaker will rock the all-ages Vera stage.

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Mass Sugar is the newish project featuring former Green Apple Quick Step frontman Ty Williams. I saw Green Apple Quick Step play the Mercer Arena one time, it was during 107.7 the End’s Deck the Hall Ball. Ty spit on the crowd, the band played “Dizzy,” their hit featured on The Basketball Diaries soundtrack (still love that song), and I was only 16 or 17 years old, but it was awesome. Mass Sugar, though, is not Green Apple Quick Step. Mass Sugar is part acoustic indie rock, part groovy jam band. There are subtle tinges of hippie, but there are also some rock and roll roots, and Ty’s still got a strong frontman presence.

You can hear a few songs on Mass Sugar’s MySpace.

I also saw Jawbreaker play Deck the Hall Ball a couple years prior to GAQS’s appearance. Speaker Speaker recently covered a Jawbreaker song (my favorite, “Do You Still Hate Me”) on their new EP titled We Won’t March. How’s that for a segue?

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I’ve already written about Speaker Speaker to death (here and here, for example) so instead of me using my words, I’ll let them use their video.

Two bands. Two stages. Same time. Whachya gonna do about it?

Don’t Just Stand There, Come On Inside

posted by on July 24 at 12:21 PM

In 1978, Don Ray of Kongas and Sphinx fame collaborated with Cerrone to write the amazing disco gem, “Standing in the Rain”. Originally released as a 12” Promo by the Polydor imprint label Malligator, this song became a staple of David Mancuso’s legendary New York club, The Loft. This rare classic has been reissued a number of times, including being featured on the Loft Classics bootleg series (Volume 11 to be exact) that came out in 1995.

This is a good example of the kind of music I will be playing at Pony this Thursday, July 26th. It’s the first night of Circus! which will also feature DJ’s El Toro and H.M.A. It will be an amazing night of classic disco, italo jams and re-edits, like what used to be played in the legendary New York clubs - Paradise Garage, The Loft, The Gallery, etc., mixed with some newer disco classics. If you want to work up a sweat, this will definitely be the place to be.


Don Ray - Standing in the Rain

I’ve Never Liked Tori Amos

posted by on July 24 at 11:46 AM

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When I was a freshman in high school, Tori Amos was what all the older, arty, and “interesting” girls listened to. (I quote interesting because they actually weren’t interesting at all, but when I was 14 and they were 18, I didn’t know any better.) They would constantly sing her praises, draw pictures of her in art class, talk about how strong, smart, and talented she was. I wanted to be like them, so I wanted to like her too.

But I couldn’t. I tried. Then and now the same thing is true: Tori Amos just annoys me.

I couldn’t argue with the fact she was talented, I guess. I mean, she seemed to play piano really well and she seemed to have an okay voice as far as voices go. Still, I couldn’t stand listening to her for more than a song or two, and I actually got uncomfortable when I tried listening to her for more than a song or two.

The strange part is usually I’m okay with not liking something (you don’t see me hiding my hate for Coheed and Cambria or Red Hot Chili Peppers, do you?), But Tori Amos is an exception; I feel guilty for not liking Tori Amos. I feel like by saying “I don’t like Tori Amos” I might as well be saying “I like kicking puppies.” She’s so quiet and innocent and… pure. Admitting to not liking her feels mean, and when I think about how I don’t like her songs, I feel guilty.

Cornflake girls, raisin girls… I get it. I just don’t get it. If that’s the sorta thing you wanted to hear (a haunting and haunted woman singing songs) why wouldn’t you just listen to PJ Harvey instead?

Thrilla in Manilla

posted by on July 24 at 10:52 AM

Over 1,500 inmates at Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, in Cebu, Philippines recreate the video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

Damn, these guys are good.

You Can Stand Under Her Um-ber-ella

posted by on July 24 at 10:41 AM

Literally.

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Bell Bottom Bliss: “The Six Teens” by Sweet

posted by on July 24 at 10:19 AM

Who doesn’t love a teenage anthem? This 1974 singalong—by Sweet, perhaps better known for their sorta-hit “Ballroom Blitz”—is one of the best.

Glammy, loud, throwing around the rock with a big-haired Broadway shmaltz, these guys seem like the English version of the New York Dolls, minus the hard drugs and cross-dressing and with, you know, singing. But man, I dig those Nigel Tufnell haircuts and wide-ass leather collars. When I say “I dig” them, that means I’m laughing out loud at the total ridiculousness of them. Seriously, that pic below was everything Spinal Tap ever wanted to be.

Also, nothing beats a kettle drum for teenage anthemic purposes.

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Illegal Leak of the Week: Fiery Furnaces, Widow City

posted by on July 24 at 10:19 AM

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(Leak of the Week logo image courtesy of Google Street Views)

Looks like the Fiery Furnaces’ indie cred has run out, if the trolls at my favorite MP3 haunt are to be believed. One downloader was to the point about new record Widow City, due out in October: “This record is fucking vile. It’s Nazis, Herpes and Daniel Radcliffe all rolled into one.” Lovers make their hipster guilt apparent as well: “Pretension and questionable history aside, I’m somewhat ashamed to admit my soft spot for their schtick. Ouch.”

Of course, a good, ol’ fashioned Internet album leak is nothing without ire (posted by these fans only 24 hours after the leak, no less), and since the MP3s also included a 1,000 word long essay about the band by the band, you can’t blame the kids for the backlash. Indeed, this bio is much like the album itself—overlong and overwrought, yet ultimately amusing, dizzying and satisfying.

The bio calls out twelfth song “Restorative Beer” as the “hit single,” and at first impression, it fits the incredibly cocky bill. The stripped-down piece of Harrison-ian blues is flush with organs, guitar solos and—holy moses—a hook. As a change of pace, singer Eleanor Friedberger mutes her well-known stream-of-consciousness sing-chatter to let brother Matthew flex his musical muscle. Though the rest of the album goes in the usual 50 million directions, from hip-hoppin’ beats to stoner-rock riffs, “Beer” proves the band is moving, if slowly, away from Zappa-loving cacophonies and toward more digestible material. Hope that doesn’t piss off the trolls in October.

(Sure, we’re teases. Since we can’t post the MP3, enjoy the aforementioned overlong band bio after the jump.)

Continue reading "Illegal Leak of the Week: Fiery Furnaces, Widow City" »

Architecture in Helsinki - “Hold Music”

posted by on July 24 at 10:14 AM

This video for “Hold Music,” the second single from Architecture in Helsinki’s forthcoming album, Places Like This, started making the rounds yesterday. There’s trampoline jumping and freeze framed dancing, and it captures the gleeful energy of the band’s live show. The band’s Kellie Sutherland designed their poncho/parachutes. Places Like This comes out August 21st.



Architecture in Helsinki - Hold Music from helsinkids and Vimeo.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Our Comments Policy

posted by on July 23 at 3:59 PM

Line Out’s new comment policy is below (it’s really no different from the informal policy we’ve been operating under all along, but now it’s in writing):

The Stranger’s Blog Comments Policy

We remove comments that are off topic, threatening, or commercial in nature, and we do not allow sock-puppetry (impersonating someone else)—or any kind of puppetry, for that matter. We never censor comments based on ideology.

We will continue to post-moderate Line Out comments and remove those that don’t adhere to these guidelines. We’ll also always leave a note so you can tell that we’ve deleted something and why. If you see a comment that should go, feel free to alert us.

Monday Night, Y’all

posted by on July 23 at 1:52 PM

The Stranger’s official line on shows for tonight: “Umm, well, I guess… It’s hard to explain.”

Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat…Y’all ever consider asking the Texan for some Monday picks? In fact, I’ve got two dandies from my former Red River stomping grounds.

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Eisley doesn’t sound much like their small hometown of Tyler, Texas, just east of Dallas. This quintet of four siblings and a cousin, currently sitting on a mean age of 20.8 years, has been winning over Radiohead-alytes since 2003 with surging piano-pop. Lest you already be bored by that description, rest assured that their starry-eyed rock is better than the usual suspects thanks to their unworldly three-sister vocal harmonies. Though the band has stunned crowds at the Austin City Limits Music Festival and on tours with Coldplay and Snow Patrol, their expected stardom still hasn’t kicked off. Perhaps Combinations, their new record from Reprise due out August 14, will do the trick; get a sneak peek at the Crocodile Cafe tonight.

Watermelon Slim, on the other hand, sounds exactly like his Norman, Oklahoma digs. Take the rapid fire pedal steel play of Junior Brown, then infuse him with a white guy whose blues ability has nothing to do with Stevie Ray Vaughan, and you’ve got perhaps the best modern bluesman currently kicking around the South. Expect his opening set at the Triple Door to ruin the crowd for big band blues headliner John Lee Hooker, Jr.

Now, if’n y’all need me, I’ll be in the corner with some sweet tea and an umbrella. Damned Seattle weather.

Blazin’ Squad

posted by on July 23 at 1:34 PM

This weekend I met a kid from the UK named Matt. Matt is a rasta-type hippy. He’s got dreads and wears a green, red, and yellow knit cap. He is traveling the US, and is in Seattle to make a pilgrimage to Jimi Hendrix’ grave. He’s staying with a friend of mine and we all chilled last night. He was psyched to meet nice people and gave us his email address, which is blazinsquad@[URL REDACTED].com. Ha-ha, 420 jokes, funny pot-smoking hippy, right?

Wrong. Matt says that in the UK, people always think that his email address isn’t about his drug of choice, but rather about this boy band:

Here’s their Wikipedia entry. They are British, and many criticized them for being chavs. And they chose for their first single, in 2003, to cover Bone Thugs N’ Harmony’s “Crossroads.” I think Matt should get a new email.

Sympathy For, Sympathy For The Record Industry

posted by on July 23 at 1:33 PM

Aspiring media moguls take note: Sympathy For the Record Industry is for sale. From the post at The Daily Swarm:

Sympathy for the Record Industry, the 18-year old Long Beach, CA-based record label that released the first records by the White Stripes and Hole, is for sale by owner and self-described “anti-mogul” Long Gone John. In an announcement posted on his personal MySpace page this morning, John offered up the label’s entire assets – including master tapes, existing stock, distribution deals, website, and mail-order business – for $650,000 (or, as he said this afternoon, $700,000 if he doesn’t like the buyer). The catalog includes more than 750 releases from 550 artists, including Scarling., Miss Derringer, The Muffs, Buck, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Von Bondies, Rocket From the Crypt, Billy Childish, Turbonegro, April March, The Dwarves, Suicide, The Gun Club, Inger Lorre and Motel Shootout, Man or Astro-man? and Redd Kross.

Check out SFTRI online at sympathyrecords.com

Hat tip to Maiko!

Northgate Silver Platters Robbed Yesterday Morning

posted by on July 23 at 1:28 PM

Breaking News/Nerd Alert!

Yesterday morning, around 6:40 am, the Northgate Silver Platters was broken into, and about 200 Blu-ray discs were stolen. (Blu-ray, for those who aren’t familiar, is basically a more expensive DVD with supposedly better quality that can only be played on a Blu-ray disc player or a Playstation 3.)

“It was basically the whole section of Blu-ray,” says SP Vice President Mike Batt. “We’re one of the main vendors that carry Blu-ray in Seattle, and they took pretty much everything in the section.”

With each disc going for about $34.99-$39.99 a pop, Batt says it’s the biggest hit Silver Platters has ever taken.

“Usually the people are flustered and they grab a few CDs here and there, but these people seemed to know what they were doing.”

There are currently no leads on the geeks (and seeing as how they broke into a record store to steal a bunch of Blu-ray, I’m safely assuming they’re geeks), who did the burglary, but Batt hopes that local store owners will keep an eye open for someone returning even a few Blu-Ray discs at a time.

“I’m doubting these people are doing this for this collection, so they’re going to move them somehow. There aren’t a whole lot of Blu-ray discs out there, it’s a new technology, and the people that are buying them aren’t really returning them. If someone notices that someone’s returning even two or three, it could throw up a red flag.”

If you have information about the crime, e-mail Batt at mikeb@silverplatters.com, or notify the Northgate store manager, Justin, at 524-3472.

The Greatest Hits Hit in PA

posted by on July 23 at 1:15 PM

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A couple weeks ago, members of Seattle band the Greatest Hits were assaulted while on tour in Harrisburg, PA. According to this story in the Patriot News, Ryan Housner and Romen Herb were pistol-whipped and robbed. Chris Vorman, manager of the bar where the band played, took time to tell reporters that “they were dressed in a way that made it hard to determine if they were men or women.”

Stay classy, Harrisburg!

(The Greatest Hits play the Crocodile Cafe this Thursday)

Buju Banton Agrees to Ditch Homophobic Lyrics

posted by on July 23 at 12:41 PM

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Dancehall artist Buju Banton has reportedly promised to ditch the violently homophobic lyrics that earned him a reputation as reggae’s most notorious hate-monger and led to the cancellation of hundreds of his shows across the world, including in Seattle.

As the Guardian reports:

Buju Banton—whose 1990s hit “Boom Bye Bye” advocates the shooting of gay men—has signed the “reggae compassionate act” set up by the gay rights campaign group Stop Murder Music, after a three-year campaign to bring him into line….In signing up, Banton has agreed to not make homophobic statements in public, release new homophobic songs or authorise the re-release of previous homophobic songs.

Before you let the notion of “anti-homophobia pact” turn your stomach and inflame your anti-censorship sentiments, let me remind you that the Banton song at the center of the storm (and the drive for the pact)—”Boom Bye Bye”—isn’t merely “homophobic.” It actively encourages, as the Guardian reports, “shooting gay men in the head, pouring acid on them, and burning them alive.” In the past, Banton has dismissed the song as a misunderstood trifle written when he was a teen and since excised from his repertoire; he was filmed performing the song at a show in Miami last year.

As for the future of that “reggae compassionate act”:

As well as monitoring the actions of artists who have signed up to the act, [Stop Murder Music] has vowed to continue their campaign against four artists who have not: Elephant Man, TOK, Bounty Killa and Vybz Kartel.

Read the whole thing here.

Bumbershoot Holds Two Contests (and you can win tons of sweet shit)

posted by on July 23 at 12:37 PM

I don’t know if any of you people are crafty up in this hiz, but there are two pretty sweet contests you can enter that will get you Gold Passes to Bumbershoot (Gold Passes are better than regular tickets because you don’t have to stand in some lines and you get drink tickets). I’ve conveniently offered up my ideas of what you could do. My ideas are guaranteed winners. For real.

Contest 1:
You make a craft that has the word “Bumbershoot” on it somewhere. You take a picture. You send it to them. You win.
My Ideas:
The world of crafting is so easily duped into thinking something is quality worksmanship, especially if they only see a picture. I say, you write the word Bumbershoot on an orange peel, and call it “God’s Gift to Crafts-the Color Orange.” GUARANTEED WIN

Contest 2:
You make a short video that has the theme “What is Bumbershoot” expressed in it somehow. You upload it to their YouTube Group. You win.
My Ideas:
Bumbershoot is about art, and music, and corn on a stick, right? So what if a guy is waiting in line to see a show, and a caricaturist comes up to him and draws his picture, and then that busker who stands on the Ave playing “Yellow Submarine” comes up to him and plays him “Yellow Submarine” and then someone drops a corn on a stick on the ground right near him and he wants to eat it but he doesn’t want to get out of line. A single tear negotiates its way down his bearded cheek. GUARANTEED WIN

Now go forth, my humble soldiers, and win these contests. I want to feel like the mother of a Beauty Pageant Winner!

“You’re So Gangsta…I Miss You”

posted by on July 23 at 12:00 PM

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Chromeo, Flosstradamus @ Sing Sing, the War Room, 07/20/07

Sing Sing’s one year anniversary party with Chromeo and Flosstradamus was every bit as insane as expected. The War Room was sold-out, packed, and hot—if you’ve never seen an electro funk mosh pit, consider yourself lucky—but it was still a total blast. Chromeo sounded superb, played tight, and looked slick. Dave 1 started almost every song with a huge grin, looking as stoked to be there as anybody. A brief scuffle broke out in the crowd, but he defused it with cool calm, reminding everyone that Chromeo was all about love. Flosstradamus delivered a fun set as well, mixing at a more leisurely pace than I remember from their last Sing Sing appearance, lingering on bits of Chicago house, and dropping the odd exclusive track or remix.

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Slint @ the Showbox, 07/21/07

On Saturday night, Slint performed their masterwork, Spiderland, at the Showbox. A decent crowd showed up, but nowhere near sold-out, which was a welcome contrast to the previous night. Slint took the stage as a five piece and, without a word, ambled into “Breadcrumb Trail,” with the crowd cheering at the first note struck. The band stood stock still most of the time, singer/guitarst Brian McMahan hiding behind the amps on the side of the stage when not singing or playing guitar, and they rarely spoke between songs. Regardless, their fans went nuts, hollering, raising their fists, and even slamming around for all the appropriate crescendos. The climactic “I miss you” of “Good morning, Captain” gave me all the right chills.

Other critics have written about Slint representing an older era of indie rock, in which audiences were satisfied with less of a show than, say, the bombast and costumery of the Arcade Fire. And Slint are definitely reserved performers, but watching them, and listening to the music, it struck me that, while some bands get theatrical on stage, Slint suggest theater just with their music and their monologues. It’s a different approach, but it’s no less dramatic. Update: I had meant to mention this, but forgot until wise old Nipper pointed it out in the comments. The lack of theatrics in the indie rock of Slint’s era could be seen as both an ideological rejection of hair metal excess and just a practical issue of not having the money for such extraneous stuff. Good point, Nips.

Here’s hoping the band follow up their live shows with some new recorded material (maybe they can finally audition PJ Harvey for that female vocalist gig).

The Lonely H, Dat’r, Velella Velella @ the Sunset

posted by on July 23 at 11:27 AM

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Thanks to Abbey Simmons of Sound on the Sound for the photo of the Lonely H.

There’s a lot to talk about with the Lonely H. Here are four 18-year-old very recent high school grads from Port Angeles looking like Duane Allman and playing like Foreigner. They are an exciting anomaly. They prompted strong mixed feelings, from “Holy shit these guys are good” and “Holy shit these guys are young” to “What the hell are these guys doing?” and “Have these guys just invented post-emo classic rock?”

The band played around their age, keeping things nailed down with a great rhythm section and group interplay. Singer Mark Fredman has an impressively rich voice, which at times he let get away from him into the realm of melodrama. This is where visions of My Chem Rom snuck in—one song was a huge and sometimes disarrayed epic, sort of proggy and bluesy at the same time, too many separate parts to possibly keep on track. Their opening number, too, had the math-rock leanings of “Roundabout” by Yes.

Mostly, though, they stuck with the rock-rock, busting out a high-energy, appropriately rangy, and rather faithful cover of Thin Lizzy’s “The Cowboy Song:” “Lord I’m just thinking ‘bout a certain female.” Boys—there are never enough faithful covers of Thin Lizzy. Congrats on a ballsy move pulled off well.

The Lonely H’s set was nothing short of intruiging—unexpected and excited and exciting, leaving the whole room thirsty for more, leaving me with lingering questions of what classic rock was, is, and will be. It’ll be fun watching where these guys go.

Portland’s Dat’r played a set of YACHT-rock, not of the Hall & Oates variety but of the Jonah Bechtolt electro variety. There were two of them, one pogoing Jewfro-d beanpole and a dour, barely-there sidekick. Between the two of them only one seemed necessary, the beanpole guy who disarmingly engaged the crowd and really threw himself into the music. It was all smoke machine/disco ball modern dance jams with shouted chants and vocals, delivered through a jumbled homemade digital setup. Dudes used several different vintage joysticks to dial in weird 8-bit accents, at one point leaning into their laptop with the controllers in their hands, looking like they were locked in an intense game of Contra while they were making the music. Fun, funny stuff.

Velella Velella is my new favorite thing. I’ve been LOVING their debut album Bay of Biscay, playing it for out of town friends and bands and DJs getting universally positive responses. Opener “Do Not Fold/Do Not Bend” is one of my favorite tracks of the year so far, though the song name, like the band’s is inscrutable.

They played most of the album, but they played it up, out, around, bouncing through a ferociously upbeat performance. By the time they went on around midnight, the $2 Tallboy Effect had taken hold and the dancefloor was quickly transformed into a churning swirl of moving bodies. At this point I put down the pen and paper and just got swept up in the music, one of the surest signs of my unabashed affection for the music.

The quartet switched off on percussion throughout the set, handclaps and group vocals were in effect, an old-school Farfisa organ and vintage Rickenbacker bass kept the buffed a nice grit into the band’s shiny funk-pop. No drummer, all programmed beats—glitchy and funky and broken—but without relying too much on pre-recorded material. It’s exactly the kind of music I love the most, the kind that’s earnest but far from cheesy, that’s smart enough to be self-aware but playful enough to not be self-conscious. I’ve said it before: Funk is a tough route to navigate, because it can so easily veer into Poly Esters-style cornballing or fey whiteboy irony. Velella Velella barrels right down the middle, with a sound equal parts Midnight Vultures, Rjd2, and Curtis Mayfield. Yeah, they’re that good.

Everything Larry Said About Grand Funk Railroad is True, Except…

posted by on July 23 at 10:00 AM

This song:

My dad loves this song, I don’t. While hanging out with my parents this weekend, it came on the radio. I said “Who does this song? I don’t like this song. It’s too long. Not only do I not like what it’s doing, but it keeps doing what I don’t like over and over.” My dad said it’s Grand Funk Railroad, and he thinkis I’m crazy for not liking it.

He proved it by singing it for the rest of the afternoon. Also, this live version makes it seem much more exciting than it sounded that moment on the radio.

Bell Bottom Bliss: “Couldn’t Get it Right” by Climax Blues Band

posted by on July 23 at 8:06 AM

Couldn’t dig up El Chicano’s “Viva Tirado” online, so here’s a worthy substitute: the breezy soul-pop jammer “Couldn’t Get it Right” by the UK’s Climax Blues Band. Looking for more cowbell? You just found it.

The too-brief intro kills, but dig dude’s vocal delivery, and that politely temperamental guitar solo in the middle. The song was big in the UK in 1976 but never made a dent here.

I first heard this song two years ago while shopping at the massive Salvation Army store in Hialeah, Florida. Dunno what station they played but on several occasions I caught some great ’70s tunes there. I also picked up a seriously fly two-piece vintage track suit there, dark brown with white and orange piping. Sadly, the place went out of business right before I moved back to SF in 2006.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Block Party Band of the Day: Viva Voce

posted by on July 22 at 3:24 PM

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Viva Voce are soooooo awesome. This is something I have restated about a million times, in different venues, with different words. This married couple from Portland manages to create slow, heavy psychedelia without it souding saccharine or contrived. Plus, they are instrument wizards: Anita plays a double-necked guitar while operating a sampler with her feet and Kevin plays the drums and the basskeys at the same time when they perform.

Also, Anita sings on the new Shins record and she has a really pretty voice. She will sing for you on Friday night at 9 pm on the Main Stage of the Block Party. You should make sure to be there, they are playing just for you!

(Wanna win tickets to the Block Party? Listen to the Setlist Podcast to find out how to enter.)

Qu’est-ce que c’est?

posted by on July 22 at 12:43 PM

Hey lookit!

Cory Doctorow wants a time machine to see the Talking Heads in 1980 too.

Great minds, I suppose.